Happy Sunday. Hope everyone is enjoying the warmer weather. I am not, as I am STILL under the weather. I’ve got the cold that my doctor tells me is “lasting for up to month.” I’m now on week 3. Happy-happy-fun-joy, and I haven’t been fishing since early January. Bleah.
Capt. Hank Hewitt of Block Island Fishworks says, “Steve’s cold sucks THIS much!”
So, here’s a good, short read from our good friends at the American Saltwater Guides Association. This group continues to fight the good fight, and is being relentless even in the face of disappointing news. Please consider showing your support for their efforts with a donation. You can effort that on their website.
Many of you noticed my recent post on Stewart’s Black Spider. I’m hoping to cover his Red and Dun spiders next. Then, some more of Leisenring’s flies. Last winter I did a highly popular series of posts on Leisenring’s Favorite Dozen wet flies. Now I want to take a closer look at patterns he describes as nymphs.
Baron von Black Gnatgenstein.
Speaking of wet flies, stay tuned this week for special offer/event on a wet fly tying and fishing class I’ll be leading in March! In the meantime, I hope somebody’s fishing…
It wasn’t as bad as I’d feared. It wasn’t as good as I’d hoped. Welcome to the wonderful world of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission winter meetings. Yesterday’s focus was on discussing and formalizing each state’s Conservation Equivalency proposals. Almost 24 hours later, here are three big takeaways.
Settle in for a cup of tea. This might take a while.
The ASMFC is structurally and procedurally bloated. An efficient organization this is not. The webinar was audio only, so it made a helter-skelter meeting like this one even more challenging to follow. At times it was like watching a Bergman film — you try your best to keep up but you’re never really sure what’s going on. And I’m not the only one who saw it that way — the chairman of the meeting described it, and I’ll quote, as “chaotic.” Maybe it’s just as well that the meeting wasn’t video broadcast — surely you could lump the ASMFC Winter 2020 CE decisions along with laws and sausages as things you should never see being made.
My reaction to some states’ CE proposals can best be summed up by Otto, who so eloquently stated: “Disappointed!!!” (That includes you, Rhode Island.)
Beware of rogue states within the ASMFC. North Korea, Iran, Syria, Sudan, and…New Jersey? Let’s not forget Maryland, who along with New Jersey have some rather — ahem — creative ideas on how to best conserve and restore our rapidly dwindling stocks of striped bass. Remember in “A Fish Called Wanda,” when Wanda reminds Otto that the central message of Buddhism is not “Every man for himself?” Someone should point out to Maryland and New Jersey that the ASMFC mission is not, “Kill as many striped bass as you can under the cloak of conservation.” Nope, those emperors don’t have new clothes. They’re wearing the same crappy, poorly camouflaged outfits they’ve been sporting for years. Kudos to those who saw through their charades, like…
Some ASMFC Commissioners get it. If a state’s CE proposal fails to achieve target results, that state should be held accountable, right? High fives to those commissioners who called out certain CE proposals, effectively telling those states to behave and eat its broccoli. Apologies in advance to those I missed, but here are a few of the people who fought the good fight yesterday: Justin Davis (CT). Capt. John McMurray (NY). Ritchie White (NH). Pat Keliher (ME). Again, these are only a few of the people I could positively identify. A very sincere thank you to all of you who are trying to save our stripers. If you’re reading this, why not take a few minutes to send them an email of thanks and support. You can find that list here.
Is anybody there? Does anybody care? Some commissioners clearly do.Especially those who understand that killing this fish now doesn’t bode well for the future.
Amidst the recent doom and gloom surrounding the fall 2019 ASMFC session, a ray of hope: Congressman Huffman, Chairman of Water, Oceans and Wildlife, is hosting a national listening tour regarding the concerns of anglers, scientists, and policy makers. Here are two short reports from people who spoke at the Baltimore meeting that you should read:
The second is from Tony Friedrich, Policy Director of the ASGA.
The quote of the month comes from Tony, who wrote: “Here’s one more thing to ponder. The American Saltwater Guides Association isn’t even a year old and we had a seat at the table for an event sponsored by the Chairman of Water, Oceans, and Wildlife. Let that sink in folks. Profound change doesn’t happen overnight. You have a work and grind at it every day. That’s what we have done from the start at ASGA. We have already won and lost a few. This goes into the “W” column.”
For those of you who don’t know Addendum VI from King George VI, my apologies. Well, maybe not. This is important. Even if striped bass aren’t your thing, what follows is a good, quick read. And we could really use the support of all conservation-minded anglers. It’s from the ASGA blog. The last paragraph is probably the most important. You can read it here.
Now is your chance to make your voice heard on the future of striped bass. No, really! Public comments have been acknowledged by ASMFC commissioners as not only being read, but also helping to influence new policies that will shape the future of our striped bass fishery. Here’s what you need to know:
You can find the public hearing schedule for individual states, and the email/snail mail address to send comments tohere. It is critical that you, at the minimum, send an email comment. If you can attend a public hearing, all the better. If you email, you must use the subject line Striped Bass Draft Addendum VI.
What to say? You, of course, will have your own opinion. It should be noted that in this situation, there exists the awesome power of similar numbers. The more of us that push for a similar opinion — and outcome — the better. You know I am a champion of the American Saltwater Guides Association (ASGA). They have carefully considered the options, and their position on Draft Addendum VI can be found here.
The ASGA (American Saltwater Guides Association — the good guys who are making an impact when it comes to striped bass conservation — and if you haven’t yet, visit their website/make a donation here) will have an official position on ASMFC Draft Addendum VI this week.
What’s important about this is that we — as conservation-minded anglers who care deeply about the future of the striped bass — will benefit greatly from showing a unified front, in particular in letter or email form.
As soon as I have that position, I’ll let you know. Of course, if you’re signed up for ASGA email updates, you should hear from them too. Carry on, enjoy the last full week of August, but get ready to make your voice heard!
More breeder-size stripers need to swim away to procreate another day.
I was out of the country, so I missed the live stream of the ASMFC meeting. I did hear some secondhand comments from others who watched. Lowlights included a few commissioners congratulating themselves for being longstanding ASMFC honchos (great resume point: “In charge of saving striped bass when the stock was decimated.”); business as usual (read: foxes guarding the henhouse) from certain NJ and MD commissioners; and a commissioner from MA whose biggest concern about fishing restrictions was loss of revenue from striped bass tournaments. (Really? Gonna start a sea robin tournament when the striper stock collapses?)
Sidebar: there was a proposal in MA (not ASMFC related) to increase the quota days for commercial striper fleets since they fell far short of their quota this year. You can’t make this stuff up. It reminds me of an old Peanuts strip where Lucy says to Linus, “Your stupidity is appalling.” Linus responds, “Most stupidity is.”
So, enough editorial. The best summary I’ve read is from the American Saltwater Guides Association blog. You can read it here.
Let’s stay vigilant on this issue. I’ll do my best to relay good information as I receive it.
Many ASMFC commissioners noted a high volume of passionate public comments. Thanks to everyone who opened their big mouth!
Have you ever wondered why so many species managed by the ASMFC (Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission) are in trouble? How can any commission tasked with managing fishing stocks have such an abysmal track record and still exist?
The answers are both complex and simple. On the simple side, the answers are a) because the commission does not have conservation in mind, and b) because they can (there is no accountability).
Why does the ASMFC suck at managing our striper fishery? Because they can. Compare their non-checks and balances with the Magnuson Stevens framework. Share this infographic with fellow anglers and conservationists. And be sure to read this synopsis of ASMFC vs Magnuson Stevens.
If it all sounds pretty dire, it is. But there is hope: the American Saltwater Guides Association (ASGA).
Don’t let the name fool you: the ASGA has your (the recreational, conservation-minded striper angler) best interests in mind (as well as in deed). They’ll be going to bat for us at the ASMFC meeting next month. To quote the ASGA: “We are hereby putting the ASMFC on notice. If they choose not to follow their own rules yet again we will do everything in our power to legislate a new framework that won’t allow them to mismanage the resource.”
What can you do to help? Here’s a short action list:
1) Educate yourself – ASGA blog is a great resource
2) Write your state ASMFC reps (you can find the list here.)
3) Find a post or infographic on ASGA that speaks to you and share it.
4) Hit the contribute button and make a donation support the efforts of ASGA (The value of this cannot be underestimated. It costs money do do all that research and travel around the country to represent your interests.)
The entire recreational angling community has to mobilize if we are going to have any chance of recovering this precious resource. I’m asking all currentseams readers to step up and do at least two of the above. The stripers and I thank you.